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How to Have a Comfortable Retirement on Social Security Alone

For many individuals, the aim is to have the ability to deal with Social Safety as a complement to retirement financial savings and earnings. The typical month-to-month retirement profit is $1,485.63, which—relying on the place you reside and your bills—might or will not be sufficient to reside comfortably. So in case you’re approaching retirement having saved lower than you want, and hope to reside on Social Safety alone, you may want a sport plan to make it work.

Key Takeaways

Table of Contents

  • Ready to take Social Safety till age 70 will improve your profit by 8% a 12 months past full retirement age.
  • Medicare and Medicaid may help seniors pay healthcare prices in retirement.
  • Relocating—whether or not it is shifting to a state with a decrease value of residing or retiring overseas—might assist your Social Safety {dollars} go farther.

Who’s Banking on Social Safety?

Practically 9 out of 10 People ages 65 and older at the moment obtain Social Security. The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that amongst aged Social Safety beneficiaries, 37% of males and 42% of ladies depend on Social Safety for 50% or extra of their earnings.

In keeping with a 2019 Gallup ballot, 57% of retirees depend on Social Safety as a serious supply of earnings, whereas solely 33% of near-retirees say they count on Social Safety to be a serious supply of earnings as soon as they retire.

Close to-retirees might count on much less from Social Safety as a result of the system’s funds are predicted to expire of reserve cash by 2034, at which level—if no modifications are made to the system—incoming taxes will turn into inadequate to totally fund new funds.

Nevertheless, many People might find yourself extra reliant on Social Safety than they count on. Within the Gallup ballot, for instance, simply 25% of non-retirees say they’re saving sufficient for the day once they stop working. Half assume they need to be saving extra, whereas 18% don’t have any retirement savings.

Residing on Social Safety as your major or solely supply of funds takes some creativity. These methods may help you efficiently navigate your funds throughout retirement.

Delay Taking Social Safety

Full retirement age is 67 for older adults born in 1960 or later. You may start taking your Social Safety advantages as early as 62, however your advantages will probably be lowered for every year you’re taking them forward of schedule.

Then again, in case you can delay taking your advantages previous full retirement age, you may see your month-to-month profit verify improve. For somebody who was born in 1943 or later and waits till age 70 to use for Social Safety, the rise ought to come to eight% per 12 months. (After age 70, there is no profit to persevering with to delay.)

Downsize Your Residence

Housing prices can simply eat up your Social Safety advantages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that folks ages 65 to 74 spend roughly 34% of their family earnings on housing every year. That quantity climbs to 36.2% for these ages 75 and older. 

Shifting to a inexpensive residence can have a big impact in your month-to-month money circulate. Ideally, when you have a mortgage on your house, you should have absolutely paid it off earlier than you retire.


Shifting to a inexpensive residence in your present metropolis may help release money for retirement. However in some instances, a extra important transfer—to a distinct state and even moving abroad—will be price contemplating.

When you reside in a state with a excessive value of residing and excessive taxes, shifting to 1 with a decrease value of residing and extra favorable taxes could make your finances simpler to work with.

Streamline Your Different Bills

When you’ve managed to make your housing extra reasonably priced, the subsequent step is decreasing different line objects in your finances, equivalent to utility payments, transportation bills, and meals prices.

The important thing query that you will need to ask is: What do you actually need to have an satisfying retirement, and what can you reside with out? May you ditch cable TV, for instance, in favor of watching TV on-line? May you swap an costly interest like golf for a low-budget one like gardening? When you personal two automobiles, might you promote considered one of them? These varieties of selections will be robust, however they will make your transition to retirement on Social Safety advantages a a lot smoother one in the long term.

And in case you’ve obtained substantial obligations, equivalent to credit card debt or a automotive mortgage, you may need to get them paid off earlier than retiring, if doable.

Maintain Healthcare Prices Below Management

Healthcare in retirement will be extraordinarily costly, so that you want a plan to pay for it, particularly when you have an current medical situation. Whereas Medicare can cowl a number of the prices when you flip 65, it does not pay for every thing. When you’ve retired and your earnings is solely coming from Social Safety, you’ll must look beyond Medicare to pay on your medical expenses.


The quantity a 65-year-old couple will want for healthcare prices (excluding long-term care) throughout retirement, in line with Constancy Investments.

Medicaid, for instance, is on the market to low-income seniors, and you may have this protection together with Medicare. It is designed to assist pay for premiums and choose up the tab for issues Medicare does not cowl, together with long-term care.

The Backside Line

Retiring on Social Safety alone is much from superb. When you’ve nonetheless obtained time earlier than you retire, contemplate on the lookout for methods to construct up your financial savings. Begin by chipping in as a lot as you may to your employer’s retirement plan, when you have one, particularly if it comes with a matching contribution.

If you do not have a 401(k) or comparable plan at work, an individual retirement account (IRA) is one other method to develop your financial savings. The extra you put aside now, the much less strain you may really feel to make your Social Safety advantages stretch.

Nonetheless, in case you do should stretch your advantages, downsizing, relocating, slicing your overhead, controlling healthcare prices, and delaying taking Social Safety can every make an enormous distinction.

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